» 2008 » March


Monthly Archives: March 2008

Now That’s What I Call Exploring

March 26th, 2008 - 10:50 am

Gin, tonic, and plenty of ice.

Their Chances Are RAZR Thin

March 26th, 2008 - 10:20 am

Motorola is divesting itself of… Motorola. Well, not quite — but the company is splitting itself in two.

Don’t get too worried; think of how well that same fix worked out for Palm.

The Professor linked to this story, and I just had to comment. Read:

General Merrill “Tony” McPeak, Senator Barack Obama’s military advisor and co-chair of his presidential campaign is a longtime anti-Israeli critic who has slammed Israel harshly during his career, according to an inquiry by conservative American media outlets…

In an interview with The Oregonion about five years ago, McPeak argued that the influence exerted by American Jews is responsible for the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. According to the general the problem was New York and Miami.

If I’m reading this right, then McPeak sounds an awful lot like an anti-Semite. Obviously, it’s impossible to know another person’s true feelings on something like this, but let’s try to parse his statements.

McPeak reportedly has “criticized Israel for failing to withdraw to the 1967 borders.” Nothing anti-Semitic there. Stupid*, yes — but not necessarily anti-Semitic.

But then there’s this:

“We have a large vote here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.”

And this:

“I’ve spent a lot of time in Israel, worked at one time very closely with the Israeli Air Force as a junior officer,” he said, “but that’s maybe the more cosmopolitan, liberal version of the Israeli population.”

And this, too:

“Let’s say that one of your abiding concerns is the security of Israel as opposed to a purely American self-interest, then it would make sense to build a dozen or so bases in Iraq.”

To paraphrase, maybe unfairly…

McPeak thinks that Jews control American foreign policy, that Israeli Jews are not by and large very liberal or cosmopolitan, and that the Iraq War is being waged in large part to satisfy the demands of Jews.


Taken all together, McPeak’s statements still might not equal anti-Semitism. But they come awfully damn close.

And you have to wonder about Obama’s choices in advisors. His preacher damns America and blames white people for creating AIDS. Barack’s military advisor sees dark cabals of neocons and Miami Jews running the country. I wonder who will pop out of the closet next?


Be Careful What You Wish For

March 26th, 2008 - 8:58 am

Is this a promise or a threat:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said John McCain is showing a more confrontational stance with Venezuela than the current U.S. administration, and relations may worsen should McCain win this year’s presidential election.

Finally, a reason to maybe vote for McCain.

Terror Tet Update

March 26th, 2008 - 8:35 am

The surrender monkeys are already screaming “Failure!

Unclear on the Matter

March 26th, 2008 - 8:12 am

Here’s more on the Terror Tet:

Iraqi special forces have seized several militants in a raid on offices and a mosque south of Baghdad, as security forces step up operations across the country.

In Basra, at least 27 people have been killed as Iraqi troops try to drive out the Shia militia – leading to some of the heaviest fighting since the invasion five years ago.

Coalition forces are providing air support, but there are no British troops on the ground

What’s with that middle sentence? Were the 27 dead Iraqi soldiers? Were they civilians? Were they Mehdi Army war criminals? A mix of all three? The story doesn’t say.

But the first and last sentences are instructive — the Iraqis are fighting and winning on their own, on the ground with help from Coalition airpower. Instructive because, had we provided that kind of minimal support to South Vietnam in 1975, there might still be a South Vietnam today. Let’s hope Naif Obama and Fabulist Clinton are taking notes.

Hey Man Nice Shot

March 26th, 2008 - 7:02 am

The candidates and gun control — they’ve all got problems.

Losers, Foreign and Domestic

March 26th, 2008 - 6:24 am

Is this the “terrorists’ Tet” that Austin Bay warned us was coming?

If so, I have two thoughts.

1. Is this the best they can do?

2. It won’t be long now before some modern would-be Walter Cronkite tells us the war can’t be won.

OK, a third thought — those would-be Walters are already all around us.

And a fourth thought, just to keep things even — those Walters are everywhere, despite the lameness of the New Tet.

Wargaming the Electoral College

March 25th, 2008 - 5:10 pm

Some folks point to polls showing that John McCain puts Pennsylvania in play for the Republicans. But one cold hard number ought to disabuse them of that notion:

As the state hit a voter sign-up deadline Monday for upcoming primaries, a top official told CNN that a near-majority of all voters on the rolls are registered as Democrats.


The Turing Lie Detector

March 25th, 2008 - 4:42 pm

Hillary on Hillary:

`I did make a mistake in talking about it the last time, and recently,” Clinton told reporters in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. “I made a mistake. I have a different memory. That happens. I’m human. For some people that’s a revelation.”

Actually, for some people that’s the biggest whopper she’s told yet.

Or rather, the biggest whopper her enhanced neural net programming has caused her to say.

It Did Happen Here

March 25th, 2008 - 2:04 pm

So much for China’s long-promised liberalization:

China’s security chief called for stepping up “patriotic education” in Tibet’s monasteries, the state-run Tibet Daily said Tuesday, as prosecutors for the first time charged demonstrators in the largely peaceful, monk-led protests that later exploded into riots in the region.

Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu led the first high-level central government visit to Tibet since the riots broke out this month. In the face of international criticism of China’s crackdown, he stressed that the government would “fight an active publicity battle” and solicit the help of Communist Party cadres.

Not only is Beijing turning monasteries into reeducation camps, they’re also calling a press blackout “an active publicity battle.”

Replace “monasteries” with “campuses” and “publicity battle” with “speech code” and you’ve got something a lot like modern American academia.

“Fat Chance”

March 25th, 2008 - 11:35 am

Former soldier Ralph Peters has a few simple requests to make of our political leaders:

* From President Bush, a straightforward, no-excuses apology for his administration’s arrogance and earlier mistakes in this war.

* From Sen. Clinton, a public denunciation of her Hollywood pals (who keep funding movies portraying our soldiers as atrocity-addicted psychotics) and a commitment to listen to our leading generals before making any decisions regarding troop withdrawals.

* From Sen. Obama, a two-week visit to dirty-boots Army and Marine units in Iraq (not the Green Zone and no photo ops) and a pledge to give a fair hearing to military advice before surrendering to al Qaeda in Iraq.

* From both parties in Congress, a return to the policy that, in wartime, politics stops at the water’s edge.

Peters doesn’t express any hope, however.

The Big Lie

March 25th, 2008 - 10:47 am

Maybe at least one person believes Hillary Clinton’s Bosnia whopper — and that would be Hillary Clinton.

UPDATE: Then there’s “the audacity of hopelessness.”

A 50 Megaton Oops

March 25th, 2008 - 10:26 am

When it comes to handling dangerous nuclear technology, we don’t make mistakes — we have happy accidents. Or at least that’s what I got from reading this story:

The U.S. military mistakenly shipped four fuses for nuclear missiles to Taiwan in 2006, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, adding that the parts have been returned to U.S. custody.

The military was supposed to ship helicopter batteries to Taiwan but instead sent fuses used as part of the trigger mechanism on missiles.

Why the sudden revelation of two-year-old news? To send a message to China: If you ever threaten to crack down on Taiwan like you’ve cracked down on Tibet, we could ship those fuses to Taipei on purpose.

I mean, who confuses helicopter batteries for nuclear triggers?

Clear THIS Channel!

March 25th, 2008 - 9:39 am

Hopefully this effort will go nowhere, but:

Apparently Clear Channel’s new motto is “if you can’t beat ‘em, make life suck on the other side of the merger.” The broadcast giant has dropped a whole big list of requests on the FCC to impose as conditions upon XM / Sirius for a merger, not the least of which is asking for broadcast decency rules be applied to satellite radio.

One of the reasons I haven’t listened to the radio since 1992 is that Clear Channel isn’t just lousy, it’s omnipresent. And thanks to Apple’s iPod, I don’t have to subscribe to XM or Sirius, either. But imagine if CBS sued the government to get HBO to clean up “The Wire,” or force Showtime to put clothes back on all the ladies of “The L Word.”

Unlike your lousy “local” Clear Channel stations, XM and Sirius* are subscription services. If you don’t like what they broadcast, don’t subscribe. Same as pay TV channels. If Clear Channel wants to compete, they should first try not sucking.


Braver Than I Thought

March 25th, 2008 - 8:50 am

See that innocent little Bosnian girl with Hillary Clinton? Underneath that just-as-innocent-looking purple coat there’s like eighty pounds of dynamite. And she’s holding a dead-man’s switch.

No, really. Also she’s a ninja.

The reason all those men in suits are around is they’re the only ones left after the Army guys got scared and ran off. Notice that only Hillary is brave enough to confront the ‘splodey ninja tot and try to disarm her.

Health Update

March 25th, 2008 - 8:42 am

Lost a week of blogging while the docs figured out if my superduperhyperthyroid was in remission or not.


Went on a lower dosage of PTU and the beta-blocker for a while, and six pounds disappeared just like that. Heart rate shot back up to the mid-80s at rest. The good news is, those pounds came off my belly and face. But now my standing heart rate is back down to about 40. Ever tried to work out when your heart rate won’t go up above 65?

So I went back on the triple dose of PTU, and we’ll see if I can keep the pounds off through diet. Diet? ME? When you’ve had an overactive thyroid your whole life, “diet” is not a word you have any connection with.

Then it took a few days to get re-adapted to all the pills — as I discovered the first time around, you feel worse before you feel better. I’m in the “better” stage now.

Next step? I’ll drink some radioactive iodine, and hide in a motel for a few days so I don’t irradiate the baby. Then there’s a 2-6 months-long wait for my thyroid to die off. After that, I’ll take a single Synthroid pill every morning — a nice change from the current 20-pill-a-day regimen.

Sounds weird to kill a vital organ by drinking a radioactive isotope, but this treatment is 50 years old. Although they don’t tell you at first that, for a few days, your urine is radioactive medical waste. And that for a week prior to drinking the glowing stuff, you have to endure an iodine-free diet.

Try that one at home, I dare you.

Anyway, prognosis is great, feeling great, and eager to get on with it.

Hope Is Forever

March 20th, 2008 - 2:27 pm

Why doesn’t Barack Obama eject his former pastor from his life? For the same reason Hillary Clinton doesn’t eject her philandering husband from hers. The hope for power.

Sir Arthur, RIP

March 18th, 2008 - 7:18 pm

As noted in many, many other places (notably including the Blogfaddah), Arthur C. Clarke has died, and not unlike the also recently-departed William F. Buckley, Jr., he passed after a long and exceptionally well-lived life.

I devoured collections of Clarke’s short stories as a kid, and I doubt very much that I would have grown up to become an engineer if not for Clarke, Robert Heinlein, and Gene Roddenberry.

And now all three are gone.

May they be enjoying a well-earned drink together tonight, somewhere out there.

Look, Bite, Chew, Swallow, Digest, Write.

March 18th, 2008 - 5:06 pm

See, this is how restaurant critics should write.

    “My chicken and ham pie was a disaster. I use the word in the gastronomic sense. It wasn’t a disaster like an earthquake in Pakistan or the Black Death, but in its own dinner time, it was up there with the Thirty Years War. A sarcophagus of bone-dry, boiled and shredded ham, with hen tits.”

Keep it Zipped

March 17th, 2008 - 8:13 pm

When a call-girl busting governor is busted for nailing hookers while doing the people’s business, I understand why that’s the, uh, people’s business.

What I don’t understand is why the new governor has to confess that he and his wife saw other people during a time that their marriage was on the rocks.

Do we really have a need-to-know on that one?


March 17th, 2008 - 7:12 pm

No hanging chads, no cemetery votes, no problem. It’s the latest election news from Florida:

The possibility of a mail-in vote for Florida’s Democrats has officially been killed.

Karen Thurman, head of the Sunshine State’s Democratic party, has issued a letter acknowledging defeat for the idea, much as she knew it was a long-shot possibility last week when she first sent around a draft proposal outlining the ways it could have been accomplished.

The state’s Congressional Democratic delegation opposed it; the Republicans who control the state Legislature opposed it. Opponents cited the inability to verify signatures as one hurdle; the cost estimated at more than $10 million also was a significant obstacle.

Only Hillary Clinton supported it, as a way to win some delegates she desperately needs. Clinton just took one step back from the nomination.

It’s a Narrow Landslide

March 17th, 2008 - 6:14 pm

USA Today, no surprise, suffers cognitive dissonance on the Second Amendment. How else to reconcile this lede…

Guns, and questions about how much power the government has to keep people from owning them, are at the core of one of the most divisive topics in American politics.

…with this graf only slightly later in the story:

Nearly three out of four Americans — 73% — believe the Second Amendment spells out an individual right to own a firearm, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of 1,016 adults taken Feb. 8-10.

Any issue with support from almost three-quarters of the people is hardly “divisive.” In fact, I’d say that as a matter of public opinion, the Second Amendment is clearly settled.

Defeat From the Jaws of Victory

March 17th, 2008 - 5:54 pm

Inspiring words from a potential commander-in-chief:

Democrat Hillary Clinton charged on Monday the Iraq war may end up costing Americans $1 trillion and further strain the economy, as she made her case for a prompt U.S. troop pullout from a war “we cannot win.”

But she supports the troops.

The Future Is Now

March 17th, 2008 - 5:41 pm

The great hope for online news: Citizen journalists?

Citizen pundits do all right.

Goodbye Norma Jean, Hello Goats

March 17th, 2008 - 3:13 pm

First, Elton John decided to sing for Hillary Clinton. Now one of the Arab world’s biggest pop stars has joined al Qaeda. Details at the Jawa Report.

Inflate This!

March 17th, 2008 - 3:11 pm

Memo To The Fed: Stop Those Rate Cuts.

I guess it’s not just me.

About Time

March 17th, 2008 - 2:55 pm

Not that you’d want to, but starting Wednesday you’ll be able to buy the Service Pack 1 version of Windows Vista, which came out over a year ago.

Meanwhile, Apple has already released two major revisions to its five-month-old Leopard OS.

Required Reading

March 17th, 2008 - 2:02 pm

Newsweek on the transformation of America’s officer corps:

But this new way of war needs a new kind of warrior, and it needs tens of thousands of them. Five years into the longest conflict the U.S. military has fought since Vietnam, young officers like Tim Wright have been blooded by multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ve learned, often on their own, operating with unprecedented independence, the intricacies of Muslim cultures. Faced with ineffective central governments, they have acted as mayors, mediators, cops, civil engineers, usually in appalling surroundings. Most recently, and hardest of all, they’ve had to reach out and ally themselves with men who have tried and often succeeded in killing their own soldiers. Brought up in rigid, flag-waving warrior cultures that taught right from wrong, black from white, they’ve had to learn to operate amid moral ambiguity, to acknowledge the legitimate aspirations of their enemies.

Read the whole thing here. It’s lengthy, but well worth your time.

(Hat tip, Kings of War.)

Goodbye Norma Jean

March 17th, 2008 - 1:39 pm

Elton John likes the ladies. One woman in particular, anyway:

Sir Elton John has a new Candle in the Wind.

Mr. John, the legendary British pop crooner who memorialized the late Princess Diana by rewriting the lyrics to his song, “Candle in the Wind,” will be holding a “one night only” solo concert on behalf of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign on April 9 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

I can hear the revised lyric already…

Even when you cried
Oh, the press still hounded you
All the papers had to say
Was that Hillary wasn’t quite news

It could be worse. Monty Python could be re-doing Spamalot.